No matter what your cooking level is, I believe that everyone has 1 or 2 dishes in your arsenal that can be whipped out at any time and WOW any crowd. Lucky for me, one of my go-to dishes is light and flavorful…..and can be made in 20 minutes. Yup, I said it. 20 minutes.
Introducing my coveted Thai Basil Turkey.
Many everyday South East Asian dishes can be prepared very quickly. The combination of having your mis en place ready with the use of high heat truly expedites the process—resulting in flavorful and quick meals.
At most Thai restaurants you will probably find some variation of Thai Basil Chicken—in either ground or sliced form. Before incorporating it into my own repertoire, I used to order it all the time. I loved the herbaceous spicy flavors from the Thai Basil and how it pairs so well with the heat of the chilies. However, once I started making it, I began using lean ground turkey for an even lighter alternative. I’m happy to report, it does not compromise the end result at all. (Note: Thai Basil has a very distinct flavor from the commonly found Sweet Basil or Lemon Basil)
This dish can be enjoyed with rice or if you’re looking for an even lighter (or low carb) alternative, use it in lettuce wraps. Serve them in endive leaves and they will be a great appetizer, too! In the photo shown, I used a large romaine lettuce since I had it on hand but I’d suggest using a Butter Lettuce as those leaves have a more natural “cup-like” curvature.
Hope you give this delicious and quick dish a try!
Until next time friends…..Cheers!
Thai Basil Turkey
1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
1½ Cups Loosely Packed Thai Basil, chopped
½ Cup Chopped Green Onions
2 Tablespoons Fresh Garlic, finely minced
4-6 Red Thai Bird Chilies, finely minced
2-3 Tablespoon Nước mắm (fish sauce)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Ground Black Pepper
In a wok or large pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1-2 minutes. Add Chilies and cook for 1 minute. Add Green Onions and cook for an additional minute. Add Ground Turkey. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spoonula, stir the turkey around the pan while breaking it apart to a crumbled consistency. Cook turkey until it is no long pink, approximately 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add pepper, Nước mắm, and Thai Basil. Check seasonings and adjust to desired flavor.
Serve with rice or with large lettuce leaves to wrap.
NOTE: I like A LOT of spice in my dishes and tend to use even more than 6 chilies. However, if you are unsure about the spice level, just try 1-2 to start off with.